After their amicable breakup following a two-year relationship as an affiliate with the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL, the Chicago Wolves are moving on — and they’re doing it with the St. Louis Blues.
The Wolves late on Tuesday agreed to a three-year deal with the Blues, who recently ended their affiliation with the Peoria Rivermen and promptly sold the team’s rights to Vancouver.
Wolves general manager Wendell Young sees the new affiliation with the Blues as a perfect fit for the Wolves, a team that just missed qualifying for the AHL playoffs this season.
“It’s just having the same philosophy of what they want,” Young said. “They realize that they have a core group that has to play and develop, and they realize that we’re going to sign guys, too.
“We want to develop and win. If we make it a long way into the playoffs, every game a prospect plays in the playoffs is probably worth 5 regular season games in intensity.”
The Wolves’ affiliation with the Blues might end up being even longer-term than the three years agreed upon as they look to get some continuity back in the organization.
“We felt real good that three was a good number, and quite honestly, it’s three and I expect it to be a lot more,” Young said. “We pride our organization on continuity and it seems like the last bunch of years we’ve had different organizations — what with the sale of Atlanta to Winnipeg and then Vancouver — decide they wanted to run their own AHL franchise.
“So because of the circumstances we’ve had to change some teams here.”
And despite the fairly quick breakup, Young says there are no ill feelings toward the Canucks organization.
“We had a great relationship with Vancouver,” he said. “The tough part was that some of the players we had mutually agreed on I thought were going to be here. The first year we had five guys we mutually agreed on and I think four of them ended up staying in Vancouver. It’s hard on your depth that way.”
The good news is that scenario isn’t likely to be repeated by the Blues.
“St. Louis barely has to sign anybody next year,” Young said, “so it’s not like they have to dip into their system to bring guys in.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.